Stitch Exchange: Interview with Gudrun Johnston

Stitch Exchange: Interview with Grace Anna Farrow Reading Stitch Exchange: Interview with Gudrun Johnston 3 minutes Next Gertie's New Sewing Book!

Our fourth and final designer interview for the upcoming year of our Pro-Verbial Club is with Gudrun Johnston!

Gudrun is from the Shetland Islands, where her mother ran a knitwear design company called The Shetland Trader. Now Gudrun lives in Massachusetts, and is a prolific knitwear designer herself under the same name. Her heritage is evident in her Shetland lace patterns, as well as beautiful color work inspired by Shetland. Her newest book, The Shetland Trader Book 2, will be released in October! (Stay tuned for a special book event at Verb in November!)

Gudrun knitting in Shetland during Wool Week 2011

While Gudrun was busy wrapping up the details of her book, she was able to spare us a moment to answer our questions!

What is your first memory around knitting?

My first memory doesn't actually include the knitting part but I do remember owning a ribbed vest in a greeny pastel color that I know I did knit! I don't own it anymore!

What’s your favorite thing about designing shawls?

Gosh, that's a difficult question to answer! I love so many things about designing shawls! I think one of the aspects that gives the most satisfaction is seeing all the variations that come when others knit them up. 

What are you looking forward to the most about working with Verb yarn?

I look forward to picking the color the most....I just adore the palette that Verb has! 

Can you give us a quick look at your design process? 

I really enjoy the planning stage. As I tend to use a lot of lace in my shawl designs, I spend time swatching with different patterns and love to see how they look once blocked. A lot of my inspiration comes from traditional Shetland Lace knitting but not exclusively. I always have to knit the entire thing myself at least once! I may well change some things up along the way!!

Where do you knit -- everywhere, or only in your favorite spot?

Strangely enough I don't knit everywhere. I actually have a hard time knitting with lots of other people around or in public. Not sure why that is!! I tend to knit either at my kitchen table (where the light is good) or on the couch when watching a movie in the evening.

What is your favorite item someone else has knit for you? 

Not very many people have knit things for me!! So I have two favorite items, the only two things someone else has knit for me. A pair of fingerless mitts and a pair of socks (knit by separate lovely people). I really, really appreciated receiving them!!

Thanks, Gudrun! We can't wait to see your design for the club (and your new book!!).

It's not too late!! Sign-ups for the club will be open until September 15th, and we'd love to have you join us. Click here to read more and sign up.

To read the previous interviews, click the following links for Andrea's interviewSusanna's interview, or Grace's interview.

-- Sarah